Thursday, February 28, 2019

Make This! Building, Thinking and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You by Ella Schwartz [Giveaway]

Buy it on Amazon
ISBN: 9781426333248

Folks. . . 

Winter will leave.  Spring will come and so will Summer. And Summer days mean the kiddies need something to occupy their hands, minds, and bodies. So National Geographic is on board dreaming up fabulous activities.

The beauty of a book like this is that it simply doesn't get "old." Have a house full of kids? This book will get a lot of use or "mileage." Have one kid? Not a problem. This book will open doors of discovery from first glimpse to a year or so down the road when he or she picks it up again.

I highly recommend that you investigate Make This!..... for adding to your collection of favorites.

About the book: The popularity of Maker Spaces and Maker Education in schools has exploded and for good reason — kids love using these hands-on areas to explore, problem-solve and tap into their inventive interests.

February held two great days/weeks.... National Inventors Day on 2/11 and National Engineering Week (the week of 2/17) and National Geographic Kids Books unveiled Make This! Building, Thinking and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You by Ella Schwartz (Feb 2019, ages 8-12, $16.99).  This book is designed to inspire the next generation of engineers and supports all kinds of kid creators: those who prefer guided instruction, those who prefer to dream up and design objects on their own, and everyone in between. Within the nearly 160 pages of this book kids get the tools and the know-how to tackle all kinds of exciting projects: building a kaleidoscope, designing a fidget spinner, planting a rain forest, creating a musical instrument, and more.

Unconventional scenarios inspired by real National Geographic Explorers give kids a chance to think outside the box and apply their maker skills to real life. Chapters are divided up by scientific principle, such as simple machines, energy, and forces. In each chapter, kids can start by following step-by-step activities, or get creative by tackling an open-ended challenge. Helpful sidebars explain the science behind what's happening every step of the way.

About the author of Make This!, Ella Schwartz: In addition to writing books, Ella is a cybersecurity warrior interfacing with the U.S. federal government on strategic technology initiatives. She has a bachelor’s and masters degree in engineering from Columbia University. When she's not working, writing, or training to run a marathon, she volunteers on outreach initiatives to promote women in science and improve science literacy. Ella lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and three sons.

Begins March 1
Ends March 26 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this informational post. I was not compensated monetarily.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Goodnight, Anne by Kallie George & illustrated by Genevieve Godbout from Tundra Books an imprint of Random House Canada

On Amazon
ISBN: 9781770499263
My thoughts:  I have my very own Anne spelled with an "e" and she loved Anne of Green Gables. Surely she would love to see Anne in her very own picture book where she says goodnight to all her "kindred spirits."

This is a grand introduction to the sweet Anne for little ones. They will cherish the book for its lovely illustrations and how those drawings and the short text have captured the essence that is "Anne" spelled with an "e" from the dear Green Gables.

Don't hold off too long reading the original Anne of Green Gables, but do start with this lovely picture book.

About the book:  A beautiful bedtime picture book based on the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, introducing the irrepressible and beloved Anne to younger readers. It's time for Anne to go to bed, but not before she wishes goodnight to everyone and everything she loves!

Under the watchful eye of her adoptive mother Marilla, Anne has come to cherish life at Green Gables -- the dearest, loveliest spot in the world, and her true home. Every night before she goes to bed, she thinks of all the people and places she loves: her family, her bosom friend Diana, her splendid teacher Miss Stacy, beloved tree Snow Queen, the Lake of Shining Waters and the brilliant sky above. Anne even wishes goodnight -- or good riddance! -- to pesky classmate Gilbert and nosy neighbor Mrs. Lynde. And through it all, Anne's imagination takes flight on a whimsical journey through Avonlea.

This sweet and heartfelt picture book is a perfect read-aloud introduction to L.M. Montgomery's beloved Anne and will delight her brand-new fans and lifelong readers alike.
Go ahead and buy your own copy today on Amazon. You won't regret it. 
I received a complimentary copy through the "Early Readers Program" on behalf of Tundra Books and the author. Review was not required but appreciated. Opinions are mine and are freely given.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Dad's Camera by Ross Watkins & illustrated by Liz Anelli (a picture book about dementia)

My thoughts:  When I look at this book with it's title, Dad's Camera, it takes me back to my childhood. My father was a photography hobbyist turned semi-pro photographer. He had several cameras. I remember the big one like we once saw news photographers using with the big flash attachment on the side. He also had an argoflex that you looked down into to visualize the picture you were about to take. And then he had one similar to the cover of this book only it was highly specialized and brought from Germany by my brother when he was in the army.

Memories. My memories. But that is not what Dad's Camera is about. It is about memories that are fleeing. The memories of a father. And this picture book attempts to bring understanding to its childhood audience of the condition of dementia and perhaps specifically, Alzheimer's disease.

The take on this book is that the illustrations are stark and somewhat impressionistic. The reality of dementia is a stark reality, too. And the author takes the family through the father's journey of photography where he focuses on things rather than family.

Perplexing? Somewhat. But perhaps it will open the door to helping children understand a little that is the vastness lost to the deep blackness that is dementia.

About the book:  A moving portrayal of love and loss captures who -- and what -- we leave behind once we're gone.

One day Dad comes home with one of those old cameras, the kind that uses film. But he doesn't take photos of the regular things people photograph. He takes pictures of his keys, his coffee cup, the objects scattered on his desk. He starts doing a lot of things that are hard to understand, like putting items that belong in the fridge in the cupboard and ones that belong in the cupboard in the fridge. In a sensitive, touching tale about losing a family member to a terminal illness, Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli prove that love is the one thing that can never be forgotten.

I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.

All natural products from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives online shop keep skin clean and moisturized

Nothing quite says pretty the way good clean skin does. Start basic and keep it that way.


Infused with Vitamin C this cleanser is great!

My thoughts:  This simple bottle packs a powerful punch in your beauty regime. A clear "liquid gel" infused with wonderful organic, vegan, natural ingredients that clean and nourish your skin, it lathers beautifully, and leaves my face feeling cleansed of makeup and environmental pollutants that mar. 

I love splashing water on my face, then using my hands to gently apply the cleanser I cover my face completely and using rotating motions "lather up." I have sensitive eyes, so I am careful to keep them tightly closed in case this (as with any other cleanser) should prove an irritant.

My skin feels so fresh and clean!

Product information: Exquisitely gentle and edifyingly healing....this Botanical Gel Wash is exactly what you have been looking for. Plant actives enrich this inspired formula with healing components. Plant lipids sooth and protect the upper dermal layers for a desirable washing experience....every day! Aloe Vera heals all that ails you skin wise...and coconut and sugar derived surfactants gently wash away the grime and goop of daily living for a fresh new delightfully sudsy and luxurious drop at a time. Nourishing and yummy! Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty - Price $16.00 PURCHASE IT AT GOODEARTHBEAUTY.COM use SKINCARE10 for a 10% discount!


Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera),  Cocamidopropyl Betaine (from coconuts), Cocamide MIPA, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Olea Europaea (Olive Oil), Organic Rosa Canina (Rose Hip Oil), Borago Officinalis (Borage Oil), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Peel Tincture), Origanum Compactum (Oregano Oil), Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative).

Now that we've cleansed our face, it is ready to receive a product to moisturize and soften. Everyone has a different  type of skin and sometimes it is hit-or-miss in finding the just right product for you. Often it is best to have several and rotate through them so that our skin doesn't become satiated with methodology of one product and can benefit from a varied care regime.

I suggest you try to veer toward the #natural and #organic products being offered. There is a grand assortment of skin care lines on and their own private label is very good. Today's moisturizer is one of their creams to moisturize normal skin.


Virtually unscented, this rose and green tea infused
cream works beautifully.

My thoughts:  Soft! A nice glow! That's how my skin is when using the Rose & Green Tea Moisturizer. This is a light yet creamy moisturizer that is a joy to use.

After cleaning my face I usually apply a serum and then a moisturizer. This week I've been simply cleansing and moisturizing. The effect is quite good. I still think I'll keep that serum step in the regime I perform daily to take care of my skin, but simply because I'm a lady of-a-certain-age. Younger folks could quite easily simply cleanse and moisturize.

There are several moisturizers in the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives line covering dry skin, normal skin, and oily skin. Pick and choose that which is best for you. Normal seems to work best for me.

I can recommend this and it is certainly affordable.

Product information: Pamper your skin with this moisturizing, all-purpose lotion. This delightful lotion absorbs right into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling yet provides the glide of a deep penetrating moisturizer. It conditions your skin while it moisturizes and softens, replenishing through the day. 2.3 oz jar - Made in small batches in the USA by Good Earth Beauty Price: $25.00  PURCHASE IT AT GOODEARTHBEAUTY.COM use SKINCARE10 for a 10% discount!

This is a light cream that doesn't go on heavy.
Moisturizes and lasts well.


Deionized Aqua (Water), Glycolic Acid, Organic Olive Squalane, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin,  Alpha Lipoic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed Oil), Organic Mahonia Aquifolium (Oregon Grape), Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu Oil), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip Oil), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Phytic Acid, Pyrus Malus (Apple), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon), Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Palmitate), Radish Root Ferment (Natural Preservative). 
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this #sponsored review. Opinions are my own and given based on my actual use of the products. I was not required to give a positive review. Review is given without compensation.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Prestel Junior has 3 delightful new books for very young children or young readers. Cat & Mouse, The Song of Spring, and New York Day & Night [Review & Giveaway]

Cat and Mouse by Britta Teckentrup (ISBN: 978-3-7913-7374-4; Ages 1-3; Board Book $14.95)

My thoughts:  The format and art in this children's book is somewhat different and a bit stark. It is interesting and gets the message accross. The age old game of cat and mouse is played out on the pages as mouse flits from one spot to another as he is being pursued by cat.

The description of the book states.... "young readers will learn about important prepositions that help them understand where one object is in relation to another" but this will certainly need to be pointed out to little ones. It can, however, aid readers in comprehending how Mouse scurries from point A to point B in order to hide and evade Cat. Inside. In the box. Behind. Down.Over there. In a tree.

Adults reading to little ones can emphasize the words or perhaps they will simply want to enjoy reading about the chase and the neat poke holes through which mouse can scurry.

A cute book and will be lots of fun for those who love a chase or love cats.

About the book: The perfect place for a mouse is inside a cozy, warm house, but a cat lives there too, and once the cat sees the mouse, a chase ensues. As the cat and mouse scurry about—on top of a chair, inside a box, outside a window, through a hole—young readers will learn about important prepositions that help them understand where one object is in relation to another in relation to another.  At the end of this colorful chase, the cat and mouse curl up together and nap until they’re ready to start the whole thing again. Britta Teckentrup’s eye-catching, simple illustrations are cleverly enhanced with cut-outs that help reinforce the words, providing a unique and fun interactive experience that teaches young readers about basic prepositions.

BRITTA TECKENTRUP has published dozens of highly acclaimed illustrated works for children, including Oskar loves…, Oskar and Mo, Oskar can…, The Egg, and Birds and Their Feathers (all by Prestel). She lives in Berlin, Germany.

The Song of Spring by Hendrik Jonas (ISBN: 978-3-7913-7379-9; Ages 2-5; Hardcover $12.95). 

My thoughts:  As I read this charmingly cute book, it is only a few weeks until Spring officially arrives. Already here in  my area of North Carolina there are trees in full bloom with soft pink, deep pink, and white blossoms. And it is not yet the end of  February. Some jonquils are already blooming, too. So opening the pages of The Song of Spring is quite appropriate!

The host of  birds are tweeting, chirping, singing away and finding their "friends" or mates. But one little bird doesn't have a friend and his song just doesn't seem to come out the right way. As he tries time after time, a menagerie of animals respond upon hearing their own song. But bird still has not found his special friend.

He has friends now, though, and that is what it is all about. And then at the end...... well, there is a pretty little girl bird waiting and looking, too.

Charming. Cute. Sweet.

About the book: It’s spring and everywhere birds are calling out to each other but one bird has forgotten which sound to make. He tries “Woof,” and meets a dog, who encourages him to try “Oink,” with the expected result. Moo, Hee-Haw, Meh, Meow—each successive call adds another animal friend to the page. Will the young bird find another bird friend? As young readers are introduced to each type of animal and their sounds, Hendrik Jonas’ clever illustrations grow increasingly crowded. The result is a beautiful celebration of friendship that will delight young children everywhere.

HENDRIK JONAS is a Berlin-based illustrator whose work has appeared in The Times and The Guardian. This is his third book for children.

New York Day & Night by Aurélie Pollet and illustrated by Vincent Bergier (ISBN:  978-3-7913-7378-2; Ages 3-6)

My thoughts:  Now this book has some stark, bold colors and images. It is different in that the pages alternate between regular art and transparent pages. The transparent pages change the scene you're looking at into the opposite - day to night, night to day.

The illustrations are cute and will capture the fancy of kids. On one page when it is day, the construction workers are building new buildings. Now flip the transparent sheet over the scene and there is a super-hero complete with cape flying across the night sky.

They say New York never sleeps, and the night scenes show action and activity still taking place. Of course, some of the night visuals are imaginative and a bit far-fetched. But fun.

Your hosts for this tour of the city is a cat by night and a squirrel by day.

About the book: Sometimes your eyes can play tricks on you, especially in the dark. This enchanting picture book shows how New York City can look quite peculiar at night. Each brightly colored spread is overlaid with a sheet of translucent blue paper and when lifted, voilà! A space ship and Martian become The Guggenheim, a giant serpent is actually the subway, King Kong’s jungle turns into Central Park, and a superhero takes on the shape of a construction worker. Exhilarating and captivating, all the scenes are easily switched between day and night and  will take the reader on a unique journey that lets imaginations run wild while revealing that some things at night aren’t as scary as they seem.

AURÉLIE POLLET is an author, art director, illustrator, and film director. She lives in Paris, France.
VINCENT BERGIER is a French illustrator and musician. He lives in Paris, France.

1 Winner Choses 1 Book of Choice
Begins February 23
Ends March 22 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from publicist on behalf of Prestel Publishing and authors to facilitate a review of each. Opinions are mine, alone, and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and sent directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

The Alamo Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #7 ) by Kathleen Y’Barbo [3-Winner Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781683228202
Softcover $12.99
Barbour Publishing
Buy it on Amazon
The Alamo Bride 
(Book #7 in Daughters of the Mayflower Series)

My thoughts:  As the title indicates, the setting is around the area of the war with Mexico over the annexation of Texas to America. The Alamo was possibly the most famous encounter or battle; and while the story does not depict that battle, the Alamo plays prominently in the setting.

Clay is a man with a purpose who encounters two Mexicans who seriously wound him. This results in his loss of memory and the mission or purpose that he was enroute to fulfill.

The care and tending of his injuries was managed by the young lady, Ellis, and her mother. They use herbal remedies to treat him. This was a long drawn out healing affair and one which kept them on edge not knowing if he was friend or foe.

This is not heavy reading. It is interesting and entertaining. The bloodline of as a descendant of Mayflower families links Ellis with one of the early heroines who was featured in The Pirate Bride.

I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next in the Daughters of the Mayflower series.

About the Book: Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo? 

The Daughters of the Mayflower continues with The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo in 1836 as Texians are facing war with Mexico. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide what she is willing to sacrifice for the future of the republic.

Ellis Dumont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Dumont property in 1836. As his fevers rage, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

For a limited time read an extended preview - Click Here

Daughters of the Mayflower series:

  • The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
  • The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
  • The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
  • The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)?
  • The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
  • The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
  • The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)

3 Winners Receive A Copy
Begins February 9
Ends March 8 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing to facilitate a review. Giveaway winners' copies will be provided and shipped directly to the winners by the publisher.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Two beautiful children's picture books Candlewick: Whole Wide World and Me & Stardust [Review & Giveaway]

The Whole Wide World and Me by Tony Yuly

ISBN: 9780763692636
My thoughts:  Little children have no concept of the bigness of the world and seem to have an inflated sense of self presence. So this little picture book with its simplistic drawings in bold, stark colors on bright white backgrounds allows this little girl to place herself in the whole wide world as an important part.

She is part just as the little daisy in the field is. Just as the huge cloud in the sky is, so is she.

She is important. She has a sense of being and a sense of place. A blade of grass is important. She is important. Small is just as important as large.

Or, perhaps I'm thinking too much into the simple lines. Perhaps this is just a happy little girl who sees bits and pieces that make up the world and she says "Me," "I'm in the World, too."

Well, my own children when small used to say, "I love you the whole sky full." And.... "I love you to the Moon and back."

I think the book has sweet charm and will appeal to little ones.

About the book: A bold, joyful picture book for the very young shows that the natural world is full of wonders — and each of us is a small part of that.

Just as a pebble is part of a mountain, just as a wave is part of the sea, so, too, is every one of us part of something bigger. With bright collage illustrations and a simple, lyrical text, acclaimed author-illustrator Toni Yuly invites readers to celebrate our relationship to the natural world.

Stardust by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Briony May Smith

ISBN: 978153620256
My thoughts:  I just love the sweet, active family illustrations that show the action of this charming story so well. I can just feel the sweet little girl's sensitivity as she wants to excel and be a star just as her big sister is.

Living in the shadow of an older sister or sibling can sometimes be difficult. Parents must be careful in giving praise for the achievements of one child without damaging the sense of worth of the one who doesn't get to be star of the show, or quite measure up.

I love how grandpa senses the little girl's hurt and shows her that she, too, will be a star. After all, we're all made of stardust. He doesn't mean that "literally," he simply means that we all have abilities and we just need to use our abilities and do the best we can. Then we, too, will be a star. We are all worthy.

The book is lovely and will be an encouragement to children.

About the book: The perfect story for anyone who’s ever felt overshadowed.

One little girl dreams of being a star. But whether it's finding Mom's lost wedding ring or winning the costume prize, her big sister always shines brighter. In her grandfather’s eyes, though, she is a star. As he dries her tears and they both gaze up at the night sky, he tells a story about how everything and everyone is made of stardust and we all shine in different ways. With illustrations from new talent Briony May Smith, this is a touching story about being true to yourself from award-winning author Jeanne Willis.

2 Winners Receive Both Books
Begins February 21
Ends March 20 at 12:01 EST
Open to USA and CANADA (No P.O. Boxes)
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press and Nosy Crow to facilitate a review. Opinion are my own, alone, and are freely given. Giveaway books are provided and sent directly to the winners by publisher.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Don't Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures by Paul Erickson, photography by Andrew Martinez

Buy on Amazon
My thoughts:  Having grown up along the coast of North Carolina and having a love of the beach and ocean, I grew to have a healthy respect for stinging critters in the sea. I never appreciated sea grass and plants of various types wrapping itself around my legs in the surf. Then, of course, there were the tiny fish that was churned up in the waves, too.

But the biggest fear in those days were jelly fish and it seems that sometimes they were everywhere. You seriously avoided the water because you knew the sting was fearsome.

In Don't Mess With Me the author and photographer have captured the essence of a sea full of a variety of fish and critters that are poisonous or venomous. These creatures seem to be in abundance everywhere in the sea. So beware and don't mess with them.

I like that the author explains the difference between poisonous and venomous sea creatures. I also like that they point out that some are invasive species so you don't want them in your aquarium or released into the sea.

I recommend this non-fiction book for classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries everywhere.

About the book: Scorpions and brown recluse spiders are fine as far as they go, but if you want daily contact with venomous creatures, the ocean is the place to be. Blue-ringed octopi, stony corals, sea jellies, stonefish, lionfish, poison-fanged blennies, stingrays, cone snails, blind remipedes, fire urchins—you can choose your poison in the ocean. Venoms are often but not always defensive weapons. The banded sea krait, an aquatic snake, wriggles into undersea caves to prey on vicious moray eels, killing them with one of the world’s most deadly neurotoxins, which it injects through fangs that resemble hypodermic needles.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Tilbury House Publishers and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and freely given.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Skincare and Beauty regime includes Health Labs Nutra Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba Oil, 20% Vitamin C

Health Labs Nutra Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba Oil, 20% Vitamin C

My thoughts: This product is a clear liquid with a slightly slick feel as it is being applied that leaves my face and hand feeling a bit sticky or tacky. That resolves once it is completely dry. Based on the list of ingredients, this product should help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help slow the appearance of aging.  I've used it nearly a week and found it quite adequate as laying the foundation for good skin care. After cleansing and drying my face and neck, I apply a light layer of the serum. After it dries I apply a moisturizer. My skin has a very nice feel and appearance using this regime and the product. 

I wouldn't hesitate to purchase it for myself or someone else. It is a good deal for the advertised price and on ebay you can bid for a lower price. Ships free, too.

#HealthLabsNutra #VitaminCSerum #dailyroutine

Product Information: Find it on eBay - 

  • Eliminates appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves your skin's firmness and elasticity.
  • Diminishes appearance of age spots and blemishes.
  • Protects skin from future signs of aging.
  • Fight The Viable Effects Of Aging Skin.

Health Labs Nutra Vitamin C Serum is a powerful anti-aging formulation. Proven to reduce blemishes on the skin and most common signs of aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and sun spots while stimulating collagen to revitalize and re-energize your skin.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary or highly discounted product to facilitate the review. Opinions are my own after actually using the product multiple times.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Prestel Junior (publishing) enchants with large picture books that educate: Bucketloads of Friends & Great Ports of the World [Review & Giveaway US/CANADA]

Prestel Junior released these two books in October 2018 and you will find that they are such fun to read and lend themselves well to educating your child in an entertaining way.

Bucketloads of Friends: A Look and Find Book by Mia Cassany and illustrated by Miguel Bustos

Buy it on Amazon
My thoughts: The intention of this book is to show that you can find a friend in various places and settings. While the intended ages is 4 to 8, my opinion is that the art is more suited to an older group. The drawings are a bit quirky with misshapened bodies out of proportion and somewhat bizarre. Perhaps it is my own perception or taste that wants to distance itself from this particular style. Previously published in Barcelona, Spain by Mosquito Books this may be a style that appeals to Europeans for the age group.

The story is simple in that Lucas wants a friend to love. So he goes searching. And the reader gets to search, too. This book with pages jam packed with images has sort of hidden aspects that you will see if you look for the pattern. Lucas looks and doesn't find his friend but the friend is there for the asking.

The search for a friend is a real issue for some and it is for Lucas.

About the book: Lucas is looking everywhere for a best friend: the park, the circus, by the lake, and at school. He meets a lot of people along the way. But what about a best friend? This entertaining and colorful book is full of details for kids to search and find. Every spread features line drawings that are humming with activity. From an animal hospital populated with every kind of pet to an office filled with workers too busy working to give Lucas the time of day; from a restaurant that appears to serve only sandwiches and salad to a botanic garden where the visitors are just as strange as the plants. As Lucas travels around the city, he meets a lot of people, but will he find a best friend? Young readers will turn again and again to these drawings, discovering new details each time, and sparking their own ideas about how people interact in everyday situations. Many look and find questions will increase the fun and help to spot even more details.

Great Ports of the World: From New York to Hong Kong by Mia Cassany and illustrated by Victor Medina

Fun book that will inspire wanderlust in the youngest adventurers, and makes a great road trip or travel companion!

Buy it on Amazon

My thoughts: Having grown up in a port city on the coast of North Carolina, USA, I can relate slightly to the idea of a bustling port. Our port was not active like the major ports across the globe, but it has seen lots of activity. From the early history of the Southern USA, through war time in the 1940s, the port was of major interest. So this book, Great Ports of the World...., is quite appealing to me. Originally published in Barcelona, Spain, by Mosquito Books and now in English by Prestel Junior, the design of the book is not that of photographs showing the ships and port activity. No, the illustrations have a more artsy, or graphic tone. Which is fine. I like the book.

The author and artist literally take the reader across the globe North, South, East, and West discovering ports huge and small; and the reader will glean bits and pieces of history and information that will whet one's appetite for more to discover.

I recommend this book for school libraries, public libraries, and homes where you love to discover. And hey, do you have a favorite port?

The Port of Hamburg on the River Elbe

About the book: Travel to the world’s ports and you’ll learn much about a country’s people, culture, and industry. Ports are thriving hubs of activity, filled with an endless variety of boats, cargo, and workers. This unique book takes young readers on a journey around the globe’s ports and features some of the world’s most fascinating destinations. In colorful spreads, readers are given insights into each port city: What are they eating in Hong Kong? What lives on the Nile River? What do the boats of Venice look like? From flora to fauna and from tropical climates to polar regions, this book is packed with vibrant, 1950s-era inspired illustrations. As entertaining as it is educational, this book gives children a window into a new way of seeing the world.

Both books for 1 winner
Begins February 18
Ends March 17 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA and CANADA addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Prestel Junior Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Giveaway copies are provided by and sent direcgtly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

ISBN: 9780784219085
Buy it on Amazon

My thoughts:  The early history of America has intrigued me since my school days. In the book Between Two Shores the author takes the reader into the historical journey for the Canadian area of Montreal and Quebec. The Seven Years War fought between France and England as the two nations vied for control and ownership of the Canadian territory (this was just a portion of the 7-Years War which some have termed the First World War).  The French, particularly,  involved the Indian tribes of the area as allies against the British.

Catherine Duval is the main character with her story being told in two timelines from five or ten years prior to the "current" year of 1759. As a trader she has access and deals with Indians, French, and even British though the French actually prohibit trade with the British. She continues to pursue her trade with whomever. A "half-breed" as she is called by some, she easily moves between the two worlds of French or British and Indian. She is a strong woman.

Jocelyn Green, the author, pens a beautifully descriptive story that enables the reader to hear the wind rustle in the leaves, feel the quiet, sense the terror. And the story is enthralling from beginning to end capturing the emotional rawness of loss and discovery, hurt and terror, family and friend.

War is harsh and war is rugged and it doesn't matter the era in which that war is fought. Wounds are deep in the flesh and in the heart and in the mind. War is terrible. War is the tool by which nations preen their feathers and set their boundaries. War is the means of financial gain for one nation or the other. War decimates the people involved both singularly and nationally.

The reader will sense and feel the oars plunging into the river and feel the cloak of darkness as they row toward their destiny. This is a story that you don't want to miss. If you love a good read and history you will definitely want to read Between Two Shores.

About the book: With a Mohawk mother and a French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it easiest to remain neutral among warring sides. But when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel, is taken prisoner by her father, he claims to have information that could end the war. At last, she must choose whom to fight for. Is she willing to commit treason for the greater good?

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone, and are freely given.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Sesame Street with An Interactive Adventure "Another Monster At The End Of This Book" [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9780794441746
Board Book

Buy it on Amazon

My thoughts:  O.k. you've got to be careful when you bring up monsters to the kiddies. You don't want to instill fear in their little hearts and even if they already think that there are monsters under the bed, etc., you have to tread carefully. So be aware.....

There's "Another Monster At the End of this Book" is a fun interactive, flap lifting, peek hole, pop up board book that will entertain. And the reality is..... there's not really a monster at the end of the book. But that's a bit of a spoiler, isn't it. Anyway, its a fun board book if you like sharing "monsters" with your little one.

About the book: Come along with Grover and Elmo in this fun, interactive refresh of the classic storybook!

In this interactive version of the classic Sesame Street story, Grover tries everything to keep Elmo from turning another page and reaching the monster at the end of the book. With lift-the-flaps, sliders, and pop-up elements that kids will delight in, Another Monster is sure to be a new story time favorite!

Begins February 15
Ends March 13 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA/CANADA addresses only!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Studion Fun Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Giveaway copy is provided and sent directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Desperate Hope (Empire State #3) by Elizabeth Camden [Giveaway]

ISBN: 9780764232107
Bethany House Publishing
Buy on Amazon

My thoughts:  As the conclusion of Elizabeth Camden's Empire State Series I found the book interesting. I personally didn't care for the "thug" characters in the book and their actions and influences on others in the community. But that is the story and that is the 1896 time element portrayed on the pages of A Desperate Hope.

This is the story of the destruction of a small community and surrounding woods in order to create a reservoir for the growing city of New York. About 100 miles north of the city the water is pure and plentiful and containing it in a large reservoir and transferring the water via an aqueduct to New York is the solution that the water commission of New York decided upon. Years of legal battles by the residents of the small town against the legal might of New York were fraught with failure and the demolition of the town is now about to take place.

A team is sent to Duval Springs to manage the destruction of the structures and build the aqueduct. There are teams of engineers, hundreds of laborers, and several "camps" for housing them built. Clandestine subterfuge takes place in the camps, an attempt on the life of Emily is made, and despair is rife amongst the inhabitants.

Rather than demolition, a quickly devised plan to actually move the structures to the higher elevation where the new village will be is put into place. Deemed an impossible task, the brawn, wisdom, and tenacity to accomplish the impossible carries them through.

The book is written in the genre of Christian fiction (historical) and the historical research and information is quite well done and interesting. However, the young couple that comprise the main protagonists are involved in an immoral liaison prior to the beginning of the book. Also, in the story and inappropriate relationship takes place between a middle aged couple. No "scenes" but the reference to the occasions is there.

A small piece of little know history woven into an interesting story of a strong and intelligent woman who struggles for her sense of acceptance and place. The story of Duval Springs will make the reader think twice and quite appreciatively when they turn the faucet for a drink of water at the price that water often cost society to bring to you.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

About the book: Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she's finally put behind her--or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it's too late.


Begins February 14
Ends March 11 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are solely mine and freely given. Giveaway copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by author or publisher, Bethany House.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Two delightful young children's books: The Secret Cat by Katarina Strömgård & A Story That Grows by Gilles Bacheiet [Review & Giveaway]

A Story That Grows by Gilles Bachelet

My thoughts:  Detailed, whimsical illustrations in bold primary colors punctuating beautiful pastels are set on a stark white background offering opportunity to grasp every detail the artist has painstakingly included in the delightful story.

We are taken through an menagerie of critters (including a real human Daddy) tucking little ones into bed and reading the beloved bedtime story. And after you've read the short text on a couple of two-page spreads, it dawns upon you that there is a pattern being set forth. The tiny stuffed critter the child lovingly holds on one page becomes the "parent" on the next page.

And then you see that the author has taken you through a host of just what stories are meant to do..... grows, melts (we've all read something that just melted our hearts), turns topsy-turvy, lasts. Some books go on and on and last and last. Some just fly by. The same is true of bedtime stories.

I like the statement on the back cover...."No evening is complete without a bedtime story. And there are as many different stories as there are moms, and dads, and kids."

I recommend this  book.

About the book: A whimsical bedtime book perfect for sharing

Reading stories is a cherished bedtime ritual, a special moment that parents savor with their children—no matter what their species! In this funny yet tender book, a stork reads to her chick in their rooftop nest, a walrus tucks his calf into an igloo cradle, and an alien tells his child a story in zero gravity.

Both parents and children will fall in love with the adorable cast of characters in this charming book.

The Secret Cat by Katarina Strömgård

My thoughts:  Many children have imaginary friends and this little girl has an imaginary pet - a cat. She is not allowed to have one so one appears behind the wallpaper of her bedroom and then emerges. She is a Secret Cat and so is different. So secret that she is there but she is not visible to anyone but the child.

The child and secret cat set forth on a nighttime journey of the neighborhood and the cat grows, and grows, and becomes her fierce protector.

I really like the book. I can see the story of an imaginary pet or imaginary playmate being there for a child since it is a mechanism many children employ for various reasons - loneliness, boredom, need. And I can see it as a way that children cope with a variety of issues. But this is a children's book. So while I really like it - story and beautiful art - I think parents should read it before purchasing it.

If your child has nightmares, this might be problematic. Or if handled correctly, it might be a tool to help the child. Again, I really like the book. I wouldn't hesitate to read it to my children if it had been available while they were growing up. (And one of mine did have an imaginary friend.)

There is nothing really scary even though there is another secret pet that is a meanie but this child's secret cat overcomes the "evil" pet so this is good.

I recommend with consideration.

About the book: An imaginative book for anyone who’s ever wanted a pet

Lucy wants a pet more than anything, even though her mom always says no. But one night, Lucy hears a scratching sound from behind her wallpaper, and a ghostly cat named Silvring appears. Silvring takes Lucy on an adventure and introduces her to a world filled with secret pets just like hers. Not all the secret pets are as friendly as Silvring, though.

Filled with magical realism, this beautiful book will resonate with animal lovers of all ages.

Both Books for 1 Winner.
Begins February 11
Ends March 10 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are solely mine and are freely given. Giveaway copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by Eerdman Publishing.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Legends & Fairy Tales: The Rock Maiden and Princess Rosie's Rainbows [Review & Giveaway]

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

My thoughts:  The author has retold a Chinese legend giving it an ending and embellishments she likes. The story is sweet and tells of love, faithfulness, loss, and gain. The illustrations are lovely and evocative using beautiful soft coloration.

The perils of fishing in the open seas in a small junket as was done through the centuries is at the heart of this story as is the faithfulness of the young wife and mother whose husband does not return from the sea.

Please be aware that is story, as with many legends, involves the people praying to a goddess and that goddess interacting with their desires and changing the outcome of things.

The lovely tale is intended for children ages four and up and can be used as an opportunity for teaching a young child that some worship differently from the way they do.

About the book: When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home―only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded? Find out in this re-envisioning of an old Hong Kong legend by award-winning author Natasha Yim, featuring stunning illustrations by renowned Finnish artist Pirkko Vainio.

Princess Rosie's Rainbows by Bette Killion and illustrated by Kim Jacobs

My thoughts:  The author has penned a "new" fairy tale that will capture the heart of little girls who dream of princesses. Little Rosie is  sweet child but she is sad and doesn't smile. She loves rainbows and they bring joy and laughter to her.

Desiring his little Rosie to have her heart's desire, the king offers a bag of gold to anyone who can bring Rosie a permanent rainbow. Of course, you know and I know that isn't possible but this is, after all, a fairy tale.

After many tries, a little old lady solves the problem but it is not as Rosie or her father envision.

The "take away" of this story is look inward to the joy and love in our own hearts for the happiness we seek.

The illustrations are simply lovely and just brimming over with richness as one should find in a lovely fairy tale.

About the book: What is it that makes you happy? For little Princess Rosie, it was rainbows. Being a Princess, she could have anything she wanted. Toys, games, books. But she didn't want any of those things. Possessions didn't matter to her. Only rainbows could make her smile. "I wish I could have a rainbow all the time," Princess Rosie often sighed. Her parents, the King and Queen, tried everything they could think of to give Princess Rosie a rainbow, but with no success. Would the young Princess ever be happy? Maybe Becca, the wise old woman from the farthest village, could hold the secret to making Rosie smile?

Princess Rosie's Rainbows is a stunningly illustrated new fairytale that offers young readers the precious lesson that true happiness doesn't come from outward possessions, but from deep within us.


Begins February 10
Ends March 10 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of these two book from Wisdom Tales Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Winner's prizes are provided by and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher.

In Sickness and In Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Stress in Marriage by Dr. David Hawkins [Read an Excerpt & 2-Winner Giveaway]

ISBN: 9780736974202
Harvest House Publishers
Pages 240
Buy it on Amazon
During his more than 30 years of counseling, Dr. David Hawkins has witnessed many patients who describe to him intense physical ailments—from weight loss or gain, to elevated blood pressure, to the development of autoimmune disorders—all stemming from a common problem: the stress of living in a marriage that has become toxic.

In his latest book, In Sickness and In Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Stress in Marriage, Dr. Hawkins, explores with his two sons—an internist and a surgeon, the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies.
“When stress hormones get out of whack, signaling the brain there is lurking danger, we either change our world and cope effectively,” says Dr. Hawkins, “or experience debilitating health problems.”
Often, he sees that patients tend to live in the second category of debilitating health problems. This usually occurs because they do not fully recognize their marriage is causing them stress, or because they are embarrassed to admit something as seemingly trivial as stress has resulted in such intense physical pain. Dr. Hawkins has found that it can be a struggle for these individuals to move forward in freeing themselves from the stress that is ailing them.

In Sickness and in Health helps readers to recognize the physical manifestations of their stress and provides ways to free themselves from a life in this state. “You may wonder, So what? How is this book any different from hundreds of others on the topic? The difference,” Dr. Hawkins says, “is that we focus on how your relationships may be making you sick—literally—and what you can do about that.”

Join Dr. Hawkins and his two sons, both medical doctors, as they explore the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies. Readers will learn to recognize:
  • The connection between the mind and the body
  • The connection between an unhealthy marriage and an unhealthy body
  • Feelings of exhaustion and being “emotionally hungover”
  • The negative effects (as well as the benefits of) anger
  • How to take responsibility for your health
  • How to heal from the damages that have been done to you
Join Dr. David Hawkins and his sons, an internist and a surgeon, as they explore the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies. You will learn to . . .

  • recognize the link between emotional and physical pain
  • embrace the power of choice to become empowered by hope
  • find a path forward to ultimate restoration and regain your life

No matter what kind of pain you’re experiencing, or how long your health has been in decline, you don’t have to stay stuck. Discover hope and healing when you take control of your life.


Author info: With more than 30 years of counseling experience, David Hawkins, PhD, has a special interest in helping individuals and couples strengthen their relationships. Dr. Hawkins’ books, including When Loving Him is Hurting You: Hope and Healing for Victims of Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse and Dealing with the CrazyMakers in Your Life, have more than 350,000 copies in print.

2 Winners for 1 book each
Begins February 9
Ends March 4 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy. Winners books will be provided by and shipped directly to them by Harvest House Publishing. I was not compensated for this post.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Have I Ever Told You? by Shani King & illustrated by Anna Horváth [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9780884487197
Tilbury House Publishers
Hardcover - Ages 2 - 5 years
Buy it on Amazon
My thoughts:  No smiling faces. No hugs. No cute animals. What then?

Hands. Hands of all shapes, sizes, and shades of tan, brown, yellowish, whitish. In short.... hands representative of anyone and everyone.

At first I was just a little put off by such a lack of personages - big folks, little folks, young folks, old folks. But then I thought that the illustrator's concept of an all-encompassing visage of who this book represents and who asks the question. I like it. I find it an interesting way to look at things, and the book simply fits everyone when done this way.

Also, the illustrations have lots of tiny, very detailed drawings of finger puppets, flowers, cats, and whimsical creatures populating every page along with those various hands.

The story involves an adult asking the child the question, "Have I ever told you.....?" and the questions are aimed at instilling a sense of self-worth and possibilities in the mind of the child. You can be...... You can do...... You are worth.... You are loved....

I especially like the page where the question of ".... the right thing...." is posed.

This book is a gem!

About the book:  “Have I ever told you that, for me, there is no one more special than you? That for me, you are the most special child in the world, and that I love you now and will love you forever? Have I ever told you that?”

Shani King wrote Have I Ever Told You? as a note to his children, to remind them that they are amazing in their individuality and that they have the power to choose who they want to be in this world. The illustrations create a masterful visual narrative: warm, witty, simple, profound, and as ferociously empowering as a children’s book can be.

Now you can vie with Chat With Vera readers to win a copy of this book for some child you hold dear. 

Begins February 7
Ends March 4 at 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by MMPublicity on behalf of Tilbury House Publishers to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely mine and are freely given. Winner's copy will be provided by and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.